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Farmstand: Friday, November 4

25 Oct

Before daylight savings comes along to ruin our lives, I’m going to have one last Pop-farm stand! No, don’t congratulate me yet: I still don’t have my conditional use permit from the city of Oakland as they are still dotting the “i”s and crossing the GhostTown Ts. But in the meantime, I guess it’s ok for me to sell a little veg.

It’s also my way of kicking off the Community Food Security Collation’s 15th annual conference which is being held in…Oakland! If you want to attend the conference, go here. It’s running November 5-8, but you can sign up for individual days. Please, conference attendees, feel free to come by the farm and hang out. I’ll build a fire in the cob oven and we can circle the wagons. But don’t expect a rager: I go to bed early these days, what with the growing baby and all…

Rain cancels!
When: November 4, 4pm-dark
Where: GT Farm, SW corner of 28th and MLK Way
What: Dino kale, salad greens, braising mix, last of the tomatoes, herbs, GT tshirts–all for sale
What else: Duck viewing

Hope to see you there, this will probably be the last one of the year….

Farmstand Canceled Due to… the City of Oakland

29 Mar

I thought I was just being paranoid, but it looks like the City of Oakland workers do read my blog (hi guys!) and will be coming to the pop up farmstand to bust me for illegal activities.

Here’s the deal: After getting off the plane from Salt Lake City and making my way home to a cup of tea, I sit down at my kitchen table and I see this guy in a City of Oakland car taking photos of my garden. I go down and he said I’m out of compliance for “agricultural activities”. I’m supposed to get a Conditional Use Permit for growing chard. The annual fee: $2500.

Last year, when I bought my lot, I went to the planning department to find out what I needed to get a business license and all that stuff. The very nice planning person told me that by the spring, the City of Oakland would be changing the laws about urban agriculture in the city, so I should just wait. Guess that hasn’t happened.

The photo taking city guy said they are going to use me as an example, and that I’ll get fined around $5000 for non-compliance. All of this was triggered by one person, who complained to the animal control, who then passed it on to the city, who is now making my life hell. I said to the guy–one person caused this, that’s not fair. “Life’s not fair,” he replied. What about City Slicker Farms? Or People’s Grocery? I asked, two urban farming non-profits in Oakland. No one has complained about them. And they say one person can’t make a difference!

Then the city guy told me I can fight it and be part of the discussion about how the laws are shaped. Well guess what city worker–you get paid an hourly wage to deal with this crap. If I play with the city, I’ll have to spend countless hours of my time (making it my 4th low paying/no paying job) so you can have a new law to enforce when one person (with money and power probably) complains about about another person’s private activities. I just want to grow food for myself and other people, I don’t want to go to meetings and speak bureaucrat talk.

The up-shot is: the Pop-up Farmstand is canceled until further notice, and I’m not going to post about my activities on this blog (I’ll still write about the farm, just not announce events). If you want to be added to my private email list to find out about events/tours/pop up farmstands, email me at myname @gmail.com with a statement about who you are and why you want to be added.

Do It Again: March 30

24 Mar

I heard it’s going to be 67 degrees and sunny next Wednesday, and I really will need to sell some cilantro, greens, and fava beans. So let’s try again for the Urban Farmstand, 4pm-7pm. There won’t be tours, but I’ll bring the goats around for people to admire, and I’ll open up the new, gorgeous chicken coop for people to explore.

To recap:

When: Wednesday, March 30, 4-7pm

Where: 665 28th street (park on MLK or ride your bike)

Why: Sun.

See y’all there!

P.S. I’ll tell you the police story in private–big brother is watching…

P.P.S. Let me know if you want to bring some produce to sell.

Forecast calls for rain

20 Mar

I feel like I’m living in Seattle again. Why won’t the rain stop? I know it’s good for the plants, but in moderation. I looked at the weather report and it looks like this Wednesday, March 23, it will rain. So I’m canceling my Farm Stand scheduled for that day. Plus, I’m getting heat from the police–more on that later. To repeat: March 23 Ghosttown Farm Stand is canceled. Sorry! We’ll try again in April….

 

Urban Farm Tour and more…

1 Mar

It’s the year of the tour. A fellow urban farmer, k ruby from the institute of urban homesteading is doing an urban homestead tour in June; the Bay Friendly garden tour is featuring lots of places with chickens, bees, ducks, and goats on their tour; and the Biofuel Oasis is having our first Urban Farm Tour on Sunday, April 3rd, 9:30-2pm. It’s going to be really fun–the tour group will meet at the Biofuel Oasis then board the biodiesel powered Mexican School Bus for a few hours of urban farming pleasure. We will stop and see a small CSA, a youth run organization, a goat farm, and end at my place to behold my new predator proof chicken coop from heaven. Along the way you’ll get to sample farm produce, ask the farmer questions, and learn about best practices for growing food in the cities. Tickets are limited, $40/each. Sign up here, and I’ll see you on the bus!

Als0–thanks to everyone who came to my Farmstand this Sunday, it was great to meet all you cool people, and we did raise some cash to pay for some of the farm expenses. The next Ghosttown Farm pop up farmstand will be Wednesday, March 23, 4-7pm. Please let me know if you are an urban farmer with produce to sell. I’m looking for urban east bay people who want to sell honey, eggs, fruit, or vegetables. No jams or processed items at this time. Send me an email with your specifics: novellacarpenter at gmail

Happy March!

Sunday Gala: Details

22 Feb

First: tumbler guy: gschalin at comcast dot net

The forecast calls for sun this Sunday, February 27. Good news for my little fundraiser/pop up farm stand/party in the garden. There will be rabbit pot pies for sale, made by Becky Fresh.  There will be bundles of chard and kale and braising mix for sale. There will be chai made from Bebe milk and Ghosttown Honey. There will be nettle tea for those of us who are trying to be healthy, from nettles grown in the garden. There will be Ghosttown T-shirts made from organic American Apparel shirts, printed by Oakland’s own People’s Choice (they come in black with a red logo for girls, and army and yellow for the dudes). There will be (hopefully) goats in the garden so I don’t have to drag everyone into my backyard. And if all goes well tomorrow, a brand spanking new Hen House built by Just Fine Design out of recycled materials (think beautiful pallets). There will be copies of Farm City. We will celebrate near spring and the gifts that nature has given us. Hope you can make it!!

When: Feb 27, 11-2pm

Where: Lot next to 665 28th Street, Oakland

What: A party in the garden

What else: If you drive, park on MLK, not 28th, as it gets crowded.

Food Roadtrip

6 Sep

Ok, I didn’t take my camera on my roadtrip. What can I say? I’m a slacker blogger. I just didn’t want to have to chronicle everything and think, “that would be a good blog post.” I wanted to relax and let shit happen. Which it did. I’m writing a new book and all the juicy details will spill around, um, 2014.

Luckily, Bill bought a camera in Chicago and so he got some photos of Chicago, which we went to mainly to eat. We went to the Ukrainian Village and enjoyed a bunch of crazy stuff (for us), including meat balls in a dill cream sauce, pickled fish, a pickled apple which bobbed around with friends in a vat of sugary vinegar (gotta try making those at home), beet and horseradish spread, and the most amazing sauerkraut that was pickling in a big vat. Somehow we didn’t get a shot of the vat of pickled herring from Iceland, which smelled to high heaven, so this has to suffice.

We also ate pizza, sliced in the square-cut style that I really love.

Up to that point, we had been stopping at the numerous roadside produce stands that we encountered in most of the small towns along small roads. I was so excited to see people growing their own food. Some people didn’t even man the stands, they just had a stand with an umbrella and a money jar. Genius. The produce was amazing, as you might expect in the middle of August. Sweet corn, cantalopes, cucs, tomatoes. Because we were driving, I’d sliced up cucs and tomatoes and onions,  throw them in a tupperware with vinegar and olive oil and they would marinate. Then I would fork bits into Bill and my mouth while we hurtled down the highway.

Detroit. I have a lot to say about Detroit, because I’ve always imagined it as a mythical city filled with urban farms. And it does have a bunch of them. We could only stay for two days, so we barely scratched the surface. I loved the vegetable garden at Earthworks Urban Farm, where they pump out produce and honey for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and train people how to grow their own food. They even had a bike repair shop. Note drying garlic.

Then we went to the alternative high school featured in Grown in Detroit, called the Catherine Ferguson Academy, where, my heart swelled, they have goats!

The deal is they have a curriculum for pregnant teens and young mothers that involves raising chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, bees, a horse, and fruit trees in the name of science and self-empowerment. I hadn’t heard of the movie, but the leader of the school, a fellow named Paul, sounds incredible. Like they feed the goats by growing alfalfa on six blocks of abandoned land, which Paul cuts himself. Whoa!

They also had a “musuem” of ways to keep bees. It included a stump, a skep, top bar, Lang, and a strange octogonal shaped hive. Here’s the skep:

After Detroit (see Patrick Couch’s excellent blog for more about the Detroit scene), we headed to West Virginia for Bill’s family reunion. There I consumed about 20 pounds of the best-tasting tomatoes I have ever had. West Virginny definitely has something over California in that regard. We also ate amazing home-made canned green beans, pickled sweet beets, canned venison, and cousin Barb’s zucchini lasagna.

The trip was pretty much over for me, I flew home, and you know–I was mighty proud (and I’ll admit it, surprised) that there is good food all across our great land. Bill continued on, hitting some amazing joints along Highway 61. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I might even do another road trip.

Of course, now that I’m back, after neglecting my poor garden, it looks like hell. Still, I harvested some apples and have some greens and honey, so come on by Tuesday Sept 7, 5-7pm to pick up some supplies and say howdy. I have a new goat, too, who might want to meet you.

665 28th street (at 28th street and MLK)

This Tuesday, Sept 7, 5pm-7pm